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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I make my own virtual tours?

The different type of Virtual Tours will determine the process the you will use.

  • To take snapshots of the house, you only need a good quality digital camera and you are in business.
  • To take panoramic wide angle images, you will need a tripod for your camera and a software program such as the ArcSoft® Panorama Maker Pro®, http://www.arcsoft.com/products/PanoramaMakerPro/.

An immersive tour requires a spherical fisheye lens for the digital camera. Choices of good camera / lens combinations are limited cameras that can accept the Nikon FC-E9 lens, or the Coastal 4.88mm 185 degree fisheye lens. Another lens system to consider is the Sigma 8mm fisheye lens, or the Canon 15mm fisheye lens. The Canon and Sigma lens systems need to done with a digital SLR Canon camera.

In addition, you will need a rotator that can be adjusted to shooting 2, 3, or 5 images. These lens systems will allow you to take a minimum of 2 hemispherical pictures and then stitch them together using a stitching program such as Autodesk® Stitcher™ Unlimited. This program is capable of stitching most any kind of images that you would want, including panoramas or fisheye shots.

How do I take the pictures?

There is no real secret to how to take the best picture. With photography and virtual tours of homes the best practice is to take as many shots from different angles as possible, though the first shot should always be from an angle as you first enter the room. Most large rooms will offer several different viewing angles, while smaller rooms, such as bedrooms, will usually only offer a view from the doorway.

We always recommend using a tripod so you can have a chance to compose a balanced picture, and because the camera will always select a slower shutter speed when indoors, even using a flash. The darker the room, the slower the shutter speed will be, and trying to shoot the picture while holding the camera will only lead to a blurred picture.

What camera equipment do I need?

  • A good quality digital camera is needed to produce virtual tours and photography packages that can be delivered on the internet. Generally it best to have a camera with a minimum of 5.1 megapixels. Additional features such as having a Landscape Mode, Portrait Mode, Manual Settings, and a flash are helpful.
  • A tripod. Most pictures taken inside a home need a tripod to make sure the picture is sharp and clear. Handheld shots, even with a flash, can be blurred because of slower shutter speeds used by the camera when indoors.
  • A rotator. A rotator allows you to take images that can be stitched together easily. Rotators are mandatory if you plan on producing immersive 360° virtual tours. A standard panorama can be created with just a tripod.

What kind of software do I need to process digital images?

There are two types of software that you need to produce professional looking virtual tours. One for processing and adjusting the overall image, and one for stitching the images together to make the desired virtual tour.

ArcSoft® has some very easy to use packages that provide many great features for processing digital images. Prices start at $39.95 for software to make the virtual tour images, to $79.95 for their digital image processing package. For specific details on products, features, and pricing, please visit their website at http://www.arcsoft.com/.

For basic image processing we like the results we get from Adobe® Photoshop Elements®. At $139.99 is a middle of the road package that performs most tasks as well as its big brother Adobe® Photoshop® at $699.99. For more details on their products, go to http://www.adobe.com/.

What is “stitching” pictures together?

Stitching images is where you combine 2 or more images together to make one larger image. Stitching is used to produce the wide angle panoramic images, 360° virtual tours and the 360°x360° immersive virtual tours seen in most real estate packages.

What is a Showcase Agent at Realtor.com?

A Realtor.com Showcase Agent is someone that has subscribed to Realtor.com to have the additional pictures and additional features added to their listings. With our service, Showcase Agents can have their virtual tours posted on Realtor.com for no extra charge.

What do I do if my tour isn’t showing up?

Each virtual tour must be posted to each multiple listing service that they use, as well as individual websites, and relator.com. We post your tour to the main internet portals, Realtor.com, when ordered, and many of the MLS systems throughout the country. Individual websites, and MLS services that so not accept automatic links are posted by the agent. We provide the link to your virtual tour with every package.

I have the link to the tour, why are my pictures are not viewable?

Everything that moves on the internet is driven by some sort of a viewer. In the case of our virtual tours, you can select from several types of viewers. In some instances, the viewer on your computer may need to be updated to work properly. Most of the time a window will appear telling you to update your viewer. If you see the update window appear on your machine, just follow the instructions and update the necessary files automatically.

Why does it take so long to load my pictures?

Loading a picture on the internet is a function of the physical size of the picture, in Kilobytes, and the speed of your internet connection. So the larger the picture, the longer it will take the picture to load.

How do I get virtual tour pictures without having to stitch them?

There are some cameras that can create auto-stitched panoramas, but generally will not cover a full 360°s and only spin around for half the room. Full 360° panoramas require the use of stitching software.

How long are my virtual tours good for?

Individual tour packages, virtual tour packages that are purchased individually without an annual subscription, expire six months from the time of posting. Each individual tour can be renewed for an additional 6 month period at any time for $29.95 each.

Tours for Agents currently subscribed to our system can be renewed for an additional six months for free as long as the agent maintains their annual account. When an agent chooses not to renew their account, all tours expire at that time. Each agent has the option to continue individual tours in their account by paying the current individual tour package price for each tour they wish to continue. Tours are then renewed for a period of six months. Additionally, tours can be renewed in additional six month intervals as necessary.

How am I billed for my tour packages?

All orders are paid for when you sign up for the service. Annual accounts will be notified prior to your account’s expiration via email.

What is the benefit of using the Pay-Per-Tour service vs. the Annual service?

The Pay-Per-Listing service is good for those people that plan on using our service for a smaller number of tours per year. If you do not renew any tours past their original six months, than this can be advantageous for you if you post 12 tours per year or less. If some of your listings take longer than six months to sell and need to be renewed, then it may be to your advantage to subscribe even if only listing 8 or 9 a year. If you plan on having 12 or more tours per year, the advantage is always to use the Annual Service Package. The subscription service allows you to list as many tours as you like not exceeding 30 ACTIVE tours at any given time. You can also extend individual tours beyond their six month expiration for free indefinitely.

Can I keep my existing packages when I subscribe to your service?

Yes, all of your tours will remain active on your account and will be converted to the unlimited service model giving you the ability to extend them for free.

I work with as an agent in a team. What options do I have with your service?

Team members are an integral part of our service. Teams are charged at a $30.00 per month annual fee level, and each team member is charged at $15.00 per month. Team members can be added to the account at any time, and will expire at the same time as the other team members. Team members have the option of changing their account to a single account by notifying us at 1-303-797-7747.

What is your charge for Realtor.com and the spinning house?

If you are a Realtor®, your tours can be posted to Realtor.com for free. Realtor.com recently removed their tour posting charges to be more competitive in the market, and as such, we have removed our fee as well.

What other places can my tours be posted to?

Your tours will be posted to Realtor.com® (when requested). Additionally, the tour link provided through your listing can be uploaded to any other search engine that accepts it, often including your local MLS. We also provide an unbranded version of the template as many MLS engines require no agent identification.

How does the Free Trial Listing work?

We believe that if you try our service and see how easy it is to use, you will continue to use the service for your virtual tours and photography packages, so the first listing is FREE, no strings attached. You can add any additional tours at the regular rate, or to enter into a subscription service. If you choose not to continue with our service, your tour will remain active for up to six months free, and expire after six months as normal.

Inappropriate pictures or content posted to the site.

Our site is for posting virtual tours and photographic images of homes and land for the express purpose of assisting in the sale of your listed home. PLEASE ONLY POST APPROPRIATE PICTURES. NUDITY, CONTROVERSIAL DEPICTIONS OF SEX ACTS, OR INAPPROPRIATE MATERIAL WILL NOT BE TOLERATED IN ANY MANNER.

We monitor and review every picture that is posted to our site. All pictures of questionable content will be removed immediately, your account will be immediately cancelled, and no refunds will be issued.

In addition, any questionable images will be referred to the proper authorities as may be required.


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